Mobile phones have been around for years. In Kenya, the communication devices have lived in our pockets for more than two decades, having outgrown their exclusivity back in the 90s when they were reserves for the rich, and when the nation was served by Telkom Kenya before Safaricom was born in 2000 alongside Kencell (now Airtel Kenya).
As a young boy in the Highlands, mobile phones fascinated me. Sometime in 2001, I remember seeing a person make a call from a banana-sized one. I was so amazed by the technology because I just couldn’t imagine that you could talk to another person without using traditional telephones. It was impact-making to me I even asked my mother if such a thing was possible, and not to disappoint me, she said the man I had seen was using a calculator to gain some bragging points. The wireless madness was too much for me to digest – and admittedly, I was wowed as Bluetooth would knock my socks off a few years later.
The decade would then see mass adoption of feature phones. The handhelds were everywhere, mainly driven by Nokia, that used to make a ton of phones back then. Of course, the trend changed as we moved to the 2010-2019 decade that primarily saw people drop their dumbphones for smartphones.
In between this transition, a lot of things happened, especially the manner people used their lovely handhelds. For instance, polyphonic ringtones were born before the internet popularized mp3-based ringtones for the first batch of supported devices. Companies made a killing from selling mp3 tones (Akon is one of the artists whose songs were purchased in troves), and we loved these tones because they were cool. At that time.
Nowadays, you will seldom see a phone ring because ringtones have seen their popularity wane. Some people still use them, but the general point here is that we are too old to care about them.
This is a perfect segue to introduce this story’s theme: we are old people now.
So, here are some phone habits that you have adopted, but wasn’t aware of them because come on, you are a grown person who is engaged in adult activities like securing the bag so the government can rip you off with outrageous taxes:
You don’t care about ringtones no more
I am back to this point again. When was the last time you scrolled through your phone Settings app and had a listen of the packaged ringtones? Did you set a particular tone as your call alert?
Chances are that the majority of people do not do this anymore because they have had their phones for too long, and ringtones don’t matter anymore.
I know there is a demographic that does this, but my circle (anybody in their late 20s and above) agrees that those days of using tones, or even offline mp3 files as ringtones are long gone. Your phone is stuck on Vibration or Silent mode, forever.
It is not a bad thing if you fall under this category – you just grew older, and, as the adage goes, that is okay.
You don’t care about wallpapers
There is a joke that people who put use their images as screen savers or wallpapers are uncultured or ghetto. Is it, though? Some think it is corny, but everyone has his/her style, and we cannot judge them.
The interesting bit is that you may have stopped changing them. Heck, when was the last time you swiped through stock wallpapers, and if you actually do, how often do you change them?
Seldomly? Never? Good, because I have news for you…
You don’t bother downloading new apps no more
Remember back in the day when you purchased a new shiny smartphone and spent hours exploring the app store and trying out new applications? You don’t do that anymore, right?
Well, in everybody’s defense, we have settled on apps we use all the time, and those are the first ones we install and nothing after that. What happened to the curiosity of testing just about anything, like you know, antivirus apps?
Growth happened, folks.
Also, I understand that some apps can irritate you because they are inconsistent or interrupt your workflow.
Customization is a thing of the past
Personalization, in this case, implies to theming your phone, or for those who like taking risks, modding their devices to their liking. This includes flashing custom ROMs, among other scripts that make Android phones daily-drive better.
Rooting phones was popular among enthusiasts back in the day when Android was growing. If you have been around for a while, then you surely remember that stock Android lacked some key features, was sometimes a buggy mess and aesthetically unappealing.
However, these forms of customizations, while being supported by the good folks at XDA, have lost their popularity because Android is a better platform now – and somehow, the exercise is consuming due to the effects of overgrowing some things.
You are welcoming the idea of trying out an iPhone
iPhones have a loyal following because Apple is a genius in marketing. However, Android users defend their purchases, and while the ‘which platform is better’ has been discussed exhaustively for more than a decade, people still have their biases.
Age is making some of us, among many others, welcome the idea of testing an iPhone. Notably, this is something I wouldn’t have said three or four years ago, but years of growth and embracing civility have made me reconsider my stance about iPhones, its limitations and price be damned.
The shift from being excited about smartphones and being unimpressed by them has come as a result of owning these expensive devices for a long time. The transition has also seen us add some years to our stay on Earth, and that means that you have outgrown some of the points I have mentioned above.
What are some of the habits you have dropped that illustrate that you are an old person now?